Jesse Marsch insists Leeds players are improving under his management

Manager Jesse Marsch insists Leeds are improving and many of their players are in the best shape of their careers.

Marsch is approaching a year in charge at Elland Road after replacing Marcelo Bielsa in February 2021 and his side sit 15th in the Premier League, two points above the relegation zone, heading into their final round of matches.

Leeds were in an almost identical position when Marsch was appointed – two points above the bottom three in 16th place – and avoided relegation on the final day of last season with a win at Brentford.

When asked to provide evidence of his squad’s progress ahead of the New Year’s game at Newcastle, Marsch said: ‘Player behaviors and player development.

“I think there are a lot of kids who have grown a lot since I’ve been here.

“I think Robin Koch is playing the best football of his career right now, I think Pascal (Struijk) is, I think Tyler Adams is, I think Marc Roca is, I think Rodrigo is, I think Sam Greenwood, I think Cree Summerville is.

“So the guys that have been a really big part of how we’ve continued to evolve are showing that they’re in really good stages of their careers and we’re going to continue to improve them.”

Leeds, who have beaten both Chelsea and Liverpool this season, were outclassed but far from disgraced in Wednesday night’s 3-1 home defeat to holders Manchester City.

Leeds’ progress under Marsch will be tested again on Saturday at Newcastle, who have emerged as real Champions League contenders under Eddie Howe and his new owners.

Marsch said Howe had “done an amazing job” but stressed that the Premier League, and European football in general, were not a level playing field.

He added: “We all know that in this world soccer is something different than American sports.

“We have salary caps (in the US) and everyone has a chance when the season starts. I’m sorry, but the way European football works, that’s not the case.

“So how is it built? Well, one way is a process and keep investing every penny right, which we’re trying to do.

“And another (way) is a massive influx of money. Take Chelsea 25 years ago, take Newcastle now, take Man City 15 years ago, I mean, it makes a difference.

“But we like each other. We like who we are. We like our identity. We like the mindset we’ve created. We like each other, so we will continue to build in our own way”.

Adams is available for the trip to St James’ Park following suspension and Marsch will hope Summerville (foot) and Jack Harrison (adductor) are also back in contention.

But Patrick Bamford, who underwent groin surgery during the World Cup break, will not return to training until next week.

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